The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”
Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.
So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
I believe the most difficult thing about the process of reconciliation is getting started…going to the brother in the first place. Most of us can think of hundreds, maybe thousands of reasons why NOT to do it. “He’s the one who needs to be coming to me…when he does, we can talk.” “Why would I go back to her to talk about it? She’s the one who hurt me in the first place!” “He won’t listen. He never listens. It won’t do any good.” “I don’t want to put our friendship in that kind of jeopardy.” And the excuses go on and on and on. But none of them are good excuses, especially in the face of ALL the scripture that tells us we must be reconciled to each other as Christians. Hey, if you are waiting on a word from God about whether or not you should go to your Christian brother or sister and be reconciled, all I can tell you is…pick up your Bible and read it.
God’s call to you to go and be reconciled to your brother is every bit as clear as God’s call to Jacob (Genesis 31) to go back to the land of his father in order to be reconciled to his brother Esau. If you know that story, you know …
Tuesday Re-mix – This is a popular post from last year, updated and resubmitted for your consideration and comments.
I am pretty sure there is nothing at all natural about confession and forgiveness. I think that, among the Spiritual ramifications of the fall of man, there is this part of the human condition which makes saying “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you” difficult words for us to form. It feels almost counter intuitive. It doesn’t come naturally to anyone.
So, I’m reading the story of Joseph and his brothers and how they sold him into slavery and then told his father he had been killed. He eventually got resold into the house of Pharaoh and later would rise to become second in command for all of Egypt (o.k., I skipped some of the story). It is now many years later when he sees his brothers for the first time. An ironic twist in the story is that they do not recognize him. He sends them back home without disclosing his true identity and keeps one of them in prison while he awaits their return. We don’t know how long they’re gone, but it is at least “seasons”, all the while he is keeping one of his brothers in prison. Eventually, after they return to him, he discloses his true identity and he forgives them. It is an awesome moment in the scriptures, one of my favorite stories.
Joseph is such a lovable and nearly perfect character, one might easily miss the fact that it took him a pretty long time to choose forgiveness. He kept one poor brother in his prison the entire time he pondered his options. It was not a choice that came naturally for him. He had to draw upon something else to come to that conclusion. …